Why Start your Local Law 87 Compliance Early
Published on: February 7, 2024

Starting your Local Law 87 Compliance Early

A Strategic Approach for Building Owners

In New York City, Local Law 87 (LL87) is key to enhancing energy efficiency and minimizing environmental impact. This regulation requires large buildings to complete energy audits and retro-commissioning. The process is complex and carries hefty penalties for non-compliance, highlighting the need for early action. Starting LL87 compliance reporting three or four years ahead is not just wise—it’s essential.

The Time-Consuming Nature of Retro-Commissioning

Retro-commissioning is a thorough process aimed at ensuring building systems operate efficiently. One pivotal reason for an early start is the time it takes to perform retro-commissioning, typically a full year. This duration is necessary because consultants must test your building’s systems during both the winter and summer seasons to accurately assess performance and identify inefficiencies. Delaying the start of this process can lead to rushed assessments and potentially overlooked opportunities for improvement.

Local Law 87 Compliance

Addressing Retro-Commissioning Deficiencies

After finding issues during retro-commissioning, buildings must fix them before the compliance deadline. This rule is mandatory, not optional. Ignoring it leads to fines. Deficiencies vary from minor repairs to major overhauls. This demands strategic budgeting and planning. Starting early gives owners time to systematically tackle these issues. It avoids last-minute, pressured fixes.

Budgetary and Planning Advantages

The potential for numerous deficiencies highlights the need for strategic financial planning. By initiating the compliance process well in advance, building owners can allocate funds over multiple fiscal years, easing the financial burden. This foresighted approach allows for the careful selection of contractors, competitive bidding, and potentially significant cost savings, as opposed to last-minute, premium-priced emergency services.

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Strategic Deferral Opportunities

An often-overlooked advantage of early compliance efforts is the possibility of requesting a one-year deferral. Identifying the scope of deficiencies through a detailed retro-commissioning report enables building owners to make a well-founded case for deferral if necessary, providing additional time to address complex issues without the risk of immediate penalties.

The High Cost of Non-Compliance

Speaking of penalties, the financial implications of non-compliance can be steep. Late penalties range from $1,500 to $3,000, but more alarming are the fines for submitting false statements on an LL87 report, which can exceed $100,000. These potential fines underscore the importance of accurate, honest reporting and the financial risks of procrastination.

Cash Incentives by LC Associates


In summary, the path to LL87 compliance is fraught with challenges that demand early attention. Starting the compliance process three to four years in advance isn’t just a matter of due diligence; it’s a strategic decision that can significantly reduce the risk of penalties, enable thorough and thoughtful remediation of deficiencies, and ultimately lead to a more energy-efficient, cost-effective operation. For building owners in New York City, early compliance with LL87 isn’t just about adhering to the law—it’s about embracing an opportunity to lead in the pursuit of a greener, greater city.


In closing, while the journey to compliance may seem daunting, the benefits of early action far outweigh the costs of delay. By planning ahead, building owners can navigate the complexities of LL87 with confidence, ensuring a smoother path to compliance and contributing to the city’s environmental sustainability goals.

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